Cisero’s sale scuttled |

Cisero’s sale scuttled

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff

Cisero’s Restaurant and Nightclub will remain at 306 Main Street, at the same address the Old Town hot-spot has maintained for 23 years.

The Cisero’s owner, Steve McComb, says until this week, he had been negotiating to sell the building to Germaine Partners, LLC. Rumors in town circulated that the nightclub and restaurant would close by the end of the month.

But Tuesday, McComb received a phone call from one of Germaine’s principal partners saying that the developers were no longer interested. "They said the numbers didn’t work," McComb told The Park Record.

The restaurant owner says negotiations with Germaine Partners began two months ago and included a letter of intent to buy the property. He says the company waited until the last few days of due diligence to withdraw its offer, which featured "the highest amount per square footage offered for a piece of real estate on Main Street."

Germaine Partners owns several properties in Old Town, including the Claim Jumper’s former building at 573 Main St., the Imperial Hotel at 221 Main St., and vacant lots next to the Wasatch Brew Pub. The company plans to develop many of the properties into resident clubs.

McComb suspects Germaine Partners backed out of the sale in part because of a new Park City law, the Vertical Zoning Ordinance, forbidding new offices at street level in Main Street buildings. "They wanted to put a coffee shop and an office on the lower level," he says.

According to Jonathan Weidenhamer, special projects and economic development coordinator for the city, the rule went into effect Aug. 30.

"Council became concerned about the proliferation of offices on Main Street storefronts reducing activity and attraction for tourists," Weidenhamer explains. "We used the zoning to prevent new offices and non-tax-generating types of businesses."

The code stipulates that the first 50 feet back from a Main Street sidewalk on street level must be reserved for retail and restaurant-type businesses, he says. Also, if that area is for a private club, annual club membership must be available to the public a rule introduced by city council this May.

However, David Dewars, principal at Germaine Partners, refutes McComb’s speculation that the city’s code had much to do with the company’s ultimate decision to withdraw its offer.

"We went through a very extensive due-diligence process and determined not to pursue negotiations based on many variables — there is not one single variable that determined our decision," he says. "Numerous factors played a role. We made our decision based on how the property would complement our business plan."

In the meantime, McComb says he has lost business he might have booked during the Sundance Film Festival, as well as money spent on attorney and accounting fees. "I’ve lost a lot of money here," he says. "If the city played a part in this, I’ve got some major concerns."

Within the last few months, in anticipation of a sale, McComb planned to buy Chenez, a French restaurant on Lower Main Street, move Cisero’s Restaurant to the Lower Main Street locale and discontinue the nightclub half.

Selling the 306 Main St. building would have been "the deal of a lifetime," says McComb.

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